“That was maybe one of the most thrilling moments of my whole life: when I first walked into a bookstore and there was something that I wrote on the shelf.” Children’s book —and now middle-grade— author Adam Rubin joins Zibby to discuss his latest book, The Ice Cream Machine, which features six different stories told in six entirely different ways. Adam and Zibby talk about what he believes is so magical about writing, why he doesn’t think stories for children should be dumbed down, and how he hopes readers will be inspired to send him their own Ice Cream Machine story using the book’s outer flap as an envelope. Adam also shares what he likes to tell his young audience to hopefully encourage them to pursue the things they love to do regardless of success.


Zibby Owens: Welcome, Adam. Thanks so much for coming on “Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books.” So excited to have you here to discuss your latest book, The Ice Cream Machine, and just all your amazing work.

Adam Rubin: Thank you for having me. I’m glad moms have time to listen to podcasts, at least.

Zibby: I hope they do. Someone’s got to be listening. I don’t know.

Adam: There’s probably some sort of technology to tell you if anyone’s listening.

Zibby: No, I know people are listening. I don’t know who they are, though. That would be nice. Maybe you all could send me an email every so often so I know.

Adam: Just a little hello, a little photo of you, where you are when you’re listening.

Zibby: Yeah, that’d be great.

Adam: Paint a picture.

Zibby: Even better, yes. We could start a whole campaign. You can tag Adam. Tag Adam to let him know that this worked.

Adam: Yeah, tag me. I would love to know where you are listening to this. I’ll send you a photo back of where I am when I see the photo of you where you’re listening to it. It’ll be a whole chain.

Zibby: I love it, a viral campaign. Perfect. Everybody, if you’re listening, stop what you’re doing. Take a picture. Tag Adam Rubin. Are you just @AdamRubin?

Adam: I’m on Twitter @Rubingo.

Zibby: Rubingo, that’s right. You’re not on Instagram?

Adam: You know, I feel weird about Instagram. I don’t know how to deal with Instagram because it’s extraordinarily intimate, I feel, to post photos of yourself. I guess it is a big ask to invite people to send a photo. It started feeling a little weird when most of the people following me on Instagram and looking at my vacation pictures were people I didn’t know. I still don’t really know how to reconcile that. I haven’t quite figured out how to deal with Instagram.

Zibby: I actually love Instagram. You don’t have to post your vacation pictures.

Adam: What do you post?

Zibby: Actually, I guess I did post a vacation picture recently.

Adam: I have friends that are visual artists. Instagram, for them, is wonderful. They post pictures of their work. People get to see it. They even get professional jobs from art directors who scroll through Instagram and look for great illustrators or photographers or painters. For me, I’m a word person. I’m going to take a picture of this? This is the most interesting visual stuff I’ve got. It’s not so compelling. Other than that, I’m showing pictures of my life, which is very intimate.

Zibby: I don’t know, I’ve somehow come to terms with it. I really like showing pictures of what I’m reading or people who I’ve had on the podcast. I’m like, here are the four podcasts I just did. Here are some books that I think are great.

Adam: Absolutely. It’s a very powerful marketing tool. I’m willing to use it as that. I just posted a photo of my new book. I try to remember that it is an advertising platform. I don’t really want to advertise myself.

Zibby: Okay, all right. You don’t have to post it on Instagram, listeners.

Adam: Post it on Twitter. Why not?

Zibby: I really like Instagram, though. I find Twitter very hard to use. I don’t know where to start. I don’t know what to do with Twitter. I feel like everybody on Twitter is mean. I get very scared. I kind of dip in and dip out and just try to get out of there. I’m scared of the Twitter people. Not that they’re all bad.

Adam: Twitter people can be intense. No question. There’s some meanies lurking out there on Twitter. It makes it exciting.

Zibby: No, I don’t find that exciting. I need to be in a warm and fuzzy place like my Instagram feed. Anyway, off topic. Your new book — first of all, your old books. As with most people who have kids — I have four kids of my own who are obsessed with your books. We’ve read all your books. We read them night and day. We’ve been reading them for years. I have kids who are fourteen and a half and seven and eight. Everybody loves the books. Everybody’s so excited. I was asking them this morning what to talk to you about or what questions they would have. My daughter who’s eight wants to know, what inspired you to start writing for children?

Adam: They say luck is opportunity meeting preparation. Is that right? When I was about twenty-two, I got a call from my friend Corey. I was working in advertising at the time. I was writing Happy Meal commercials at a company called Leo Burnett. I got a call from my buddy Corey. It’s just weird how it worked out. The Stinky Cheese Man is on my shelf. My desk is covered with toys because every time I got to write a commercial for a Happy Meal, they send me all the toys that are in the Happy Meal. There’s six toys in each option of a Happy Meal. I’m surrounded by children’s toys. I’m surrounded by children’s books. My friend calls me up and says, “Hey, you should work with my friend Dan. He just graduated. He’s a year behind us in school. He wants to illustrate picture books. You guys should work together because you’d really hit it off. I know you both well. I know you’ve never met, but you’ve got a similar sense of humor. You should talk.” So we did. He was right. We hit it off right away. We’ve been friends ever since. He was the witness at my wedding during the pandemic. We started making books together. I wrote a story about this old man that was fighting with the squirrels in his backyard that were stealing from his bird feeders. It was inspired by my dad. When I was a kid, I lived in the woods. My dad would constantly be outsmarted by the squirrels who were stealing from the bird feeders that he set up. Dan did some sketches for it. He liked the manuscript. He went out and hit the bricks in New York and was knocking on doors and dropping off his portfolio to different art directors. We got a book deal. It was just one book. It was a little book. Nobody expected really anything of it. I thought, oh, that was a fun thing I’ll never do again.

It was so satisfying and so fulfilling to see someone illustrate the words that I had written. I got a little bit of that sense working in the advertising world because there is a bit of copy and art relationship and collaboration. It was different with a story, of course. Then to see the physical book on the shelf, that was maybe one of the most thrilling moments of my whole life, when I first walked into a bookstore and there was something that I wrote on the shelf. Even still, I get this thrill, especially when it’s someplace unexpected like an airport. You walk in, and there’s your idea in a physical form on the shelf. That is really exciting to see. I just thought it was great. I was so happy about the whole thing. I never imagined it would be my full-time job. We got a nice award from Borders, which was a bookstore back in the nineties and two-thousands, that said we were the best original voices or something like that. That was really flattering. More importantly, it gave us an opportunity to make two more Squirrels books, which we did very happily. Then a couple years after that, I proposed an idea for a book to the publisher that they thought was too silly. They passed on it. Dan’s agent, Rebecca Sherman, really liked it. She brought it to somebody else. They wound up buying it. That book was called Dragons Love Tacos.

After that and a few more other books that were way more popular than I ever expected, I quit my day job in advertising and started writing full time. The question was, how did I wind up writing for kids? The truth of it is, I’m not really writing for kids. I’m writing for me. Maurice Sendak always used to say that the difference between children’s books and adult books is marketing. Now that I’ve written a middle-grade book, I really see how much that’s true because words are words. Obviously, you don’t want to put drug use or any sort of serious adult themes in a book for kids. I find that when people are really trying to talk down to their audience or trying to really figure out what the people they’re writing for want to hear or want to read about, it feels fake. It feels too manufactured. It feels like a marketing product. Just from a writer’s perspective, it’s so much more satisfying to write things that you like and that you are proud of. That’s what I’ve always tried to do. That’s the advice I would give to anybody that’s trying to write for kids. Maybe don’t dumb it down. Try to make something you really think is great but doesn’t have anything in it that’s going to give a kid nightmares or ruin their day, unless that’s what you’re going for. R.L. Stine made a career out of that, right?

Zibby: Yes, that’s true. We have enough things that the kids are scared of. Thank you very much. Don’t need any more night terrors or anything.

Adam: Some kids like to be scared. I don’t like scary movies. Some of my friends, they love watching horrifying things. I’m with you. I think, you want to be scared, turn on the news. Go out for a walk. Talk to somebody that’s down on their luck. There’s a lot of reality that is horrifying. I prefer to make fictional things that are funny or a little distracting from that sort of anguish.

Zibby: Yes. I actually have a children’s book coming out in April from Flamingo, part of Penguin Random House.

Adam: Oh, cool!

Zibby: It’s about a character named Princess Charming.

Adam: Princess Charming, oh, I see what you did there.

Zibby: It’s got a little twist at the end. You’ll see. Okay, your new book, first of all, I loved the parts where you talk about the magic of words. I think about this all the time. Obviously, I’m immersed in words all the time. I’m always marveling at, does anybody else see how cool this is? I’m inside your head. I can just read what you’re thinking. This is like magic. Anytime I want, I can dip into your words or words I wrote thirty years ago. Now I can pull out an older version of me, and here I am. It’s so cool. I love that you start the whole thing with just marveling on this thing that everybody kind of takes for granted.

Adam: Writing is magic. It really is. Think about before they had writing and then after they had writing. Just that change in human culture and the sharing of information and the recording of information, it lasts, hypothetically, forever. That is just, in itself, incredible. The idea, like you said, that you can describe something and then put that idea into someone else’s mind, it’s almost like a form of telepathy to be able to merge your imagination with somebody else’s. Now, they never see exactly what you saw. Even the greatest writers in the world struggle to get exactly what they were trying to put into the reader’s imagination to manifest there in full detail. That’s also another part of the magic of writing. It’s totally subjective. The thing that you’re trying to say is not always what people take away from what you wrote. There’s all these different facets of writing that, to me, are completely fascinating. It’s a privilege to be able to talk about it with an audience of people that maybe aren’t familiar with that power and to give them the opportunity to express and feel that power that you get from being able to do and create whatever you want. That’s a rare invitation, that a kid is asked to say or do anything that they want. Most of the time, they’re working under very specific constraints.

Zibby: It’s true. I love the rebranding on the part of kids. You’re basically just rebranding reading for kids, rebranding it as something that should be on — like a magic kit, just like what you were saying. It’s just repackaging.

Adam: Reading is closely related to writing, of course, but it’s a little different. For the past ten years, I’ve been the guy that shows up at the gymnasium. They stuff all the kids in the gym. They give me a microphone. By the way, nobody ever asks me what I’m going to say. They’re never like, hey, can we see your notes? The fact that I wrote a book somehow qualifies me to talk to hundreds of kids with no censorship at all. I get out there. Nobody says, this is what you should tell the kids. For ten years, I’ve been telling them reading is fun. I try to show them that because I write books that they think are fun. We try to have fun while I’m there in person. I want them to leave that assembly and think, yeah, maybe reading is fun. That’s cool. I can go places I’ve never been before. I can meet people that never existed. I can go explore the world. That is fun and very cool and magical, but it’s a little passive. I started to question that message after a decade of sharing this idea because it started to feel a little passive and consumerist and maybe even self-serving. Reading is fun. Read my books. I started to think that there is a more profound opportunity for me to encourage these kids to create stuff on their own and to share the ideas that they have swirling around in their imaginations. Kids are fearless. It’s one of my favorite things about hanging out with young people. They haven’t burdened themselves with the shackles of comparison. When adults think about writing, they’re constantly thinking about how they’re not as good as that writer that they love, or drawing even or singing. A young kid thinks they’re a great singer, thinks they’re a great writer or drawer.

Eventually, by comparison with their classmates or whatever else they see in the world, they decide, I am not a good drawer, and so I should not draw. That sucks because drawing is fun. Singing is fun even if you’re bad at it. Look at karaoke. It’s a perfect example. You don’t have to be good at singing to have fun singing. That’s true for almost any artistic expression. There are people that will say you shouldn’t tell everyone they’re going to be a professional author. You’re setting their expectation. I’m not saying that. It’s a weird jump that people have come to. Oh, so we shouldn’t teach kids how to play basketball because they’re never going to play in the NBA? There’s so many benefits to just practicing something, to just going out there and going for a run. Are you going to win a gold medal? No. Who cares? You love running. It gives you all these physical and mental benefits. The same is true of writing. I think that if you get kids to express themselves and help them to express themselves more clearly, it not only helps them personally, it helps society. It helps the world because it’s a symptom of ignorance. This problem that we have where people can’t even agree on the set of facts that they’re going to have an argument about, part of that is because they’re not good enough at expressing themselves. When you are writing, especially fiction, you have to practice empathy. You have to imagine what these characters might be feeling. If we can get a generation of young people to improve their empathy, that can only help society become a more loving and understanding kind of place to live.

Zibby: I love it. I absolutely love that. You had such a funny line, by the way, when you write you don’t always have to put forth the opinions that you believe to be right and that the people who want to do that tend to be politicians or something like that. Maybe I mangled your quote. It was something like that.

Adam: The most popular question I get asked from kids and adults is, where do you get your ideas from? How do you come up with ideas? The truth of it is that people have ideas all day long, not just writers, but airplane pilots and pastry chefs and samurais. They have ideas all day every day. The trick is not having the ideas. The trick is letting yourself believe that your idea is a good idea from time to time. The people that think that all their ideas are good ideas often go into politics. It was something along those lines.

Zibby: Yes, you’re right.

Adam: It’s culturally universally funny to make fun of politicians because, by definition, they’ve pissed everybody off in some way or another. I wish that more people that were empathic and selfless would go into politics. I don’t know anything about politics. I don’t want to talk about it.

Zibby: I’m kidding. We’re not talking about politics. I also don’t want to talk about politics at all. I just appreciated the humor. I’ll leave it at that.

Adam: That is funny in every culture and every language. I’ve traveled a lot around the world. I always try to learn a couple words in the different languages. I can say some jokes in a bunch of different languages. I don’t know how to speak them. In some cases, I don’t even know the words I’m saying, which word means what. It just helps kind of break the ice when you’re somewhere where you’re in a different culture and you’re so obviously bewildered by what the hell is going on everywhere. I’ve learned that it is always funny to make fun of politicians. It’s always funny to accuse an old man of having a secret family. It doesn’t matter where you are. These are things that people think are funny. I lived in Spain for three years. That was part of the revelation to me of this whole idea of writing being so magical. You realize when you see something in a different language that you don’t speak, like Catalan for example, that it’s meaningless. It’s just swiggly lines. If you go to China or Russia and you don’t know the alphabet, you just can’t even imagine what it might mean. Yet if it’s in a language you do speak, it’s so immediately clear that you completely take it for granted. In the US, we’re overwhelmingly monolingual, and so we don’t have that kind of experience very often. It is really profound and kind of surprising once you realize, oh, what I’m saying, what I’m writing is not necessarily what everybody else understands.

Zibby: This is like when I was a kid and I was like, how do I know that the color red that’s in my head is the same color red? Maybe for you, it’s blue. I was amazed by this thought.

Adam: That’s right. The realization that reality is subjective is kind of mind-expanding for a kid. For me, it came through learning magic tricks. When I was a kid, I learned a bunch of magic tricks. I still know them. There’s a magic poster. Some of these are magic books. I love magic tricks. Part of the reason that I love magic tricks and optical illusions and puzzles is because they’re definitive proof that reality is subjective. What feels like a miracle to my dad when I walk into his office and show him something, to me, is just like, there’s a piece of string. He just can’t see it. That led me down a whole path that I’m still traveling to this day. It’s endlessly fascinating.

Zibby: Yes, wow, I agree. You made a comment in the book about how this had been your first middle-grade book and how it was so hard that you ended up throwing away half of it and starting over or something like that or had to rewrite. What happened?


Zibby: It’s okay. You don’t have to talk about it, actually. Maybe I’m retraumatizing you.

Adam: No, Zibby, I’d never written a four-hundred-page book before. I was so intimidated by the word count that that was all I could focus on. I was like, all right, I just got to write five hundred words a day or a thousand words a day. I don’t remember what I was going for. I thought, if I just keep going like this, eventually forty days from now or sixty days from now, I’ll have a sixty-thousand-word book. I’ll be done. Then I can edit. Then that will be the easy part. This is what I thought. I wrote sixty thousand words. Then I went back and read it. It was a fucking mess. I didn’t know what to do. I was like, wow, what a waste of time that was. I have learned the value of outlines and how important it is to make a detailed outline, not just a general outline, but really to treat your outline with the same respect as a draft where you make it, give it some time away from it, come back to it, look at it with a critical eye, try to poke holes in it. It will save you so much time later on. Even now — I’m working on a second collection of short stories to follow up on The Ice Cream Machine. There’s a story, it’s coming up on a third draft. I have to make this big change that is going to take a long time to fix because you make that one little tweak, and then there’s all these domino effects. You got to change everything. Then you got to go back through and make sure you didn’t screw anything up or totally break the universe. Outlines, super important, very helpful.

Zibby: Yet you’re doing it again. You’re going to do it.

Adam: Well, it happens. You can’t really know what the story’s going to be about or exactly how it’s going to be until you write it. Sometimes you write it and you read it and you go, oh, dang, it’s missing something. It should be spookier. Why are they doing that? I know they need to do that, but why are they doing that? Then you realize, oh, because they need that rock. They need it. Now I got to make sure they need that rock all the way through in every scene they’re in. That happens. You can never know for sure. I’ve been doing George Saunders’ Story Club. Have you done that?

Zibby: I have not.

Adam: Oh, man, it’s so great. He’s as good a teacher as he is a writer. It’s so illuminating and interesting and encouraging to read his thoughts about writing. He’s obviously been teaching at Syracuse for a long time at the MFA program. The way he approaches it is so — what’s the opposite of precious? Experimental? Bold?

Zibby: Expansive?

Adam: Fearless, just like those kids. You just write it. Then you see what it is. You discover what it needs to be through the process and how it needs to change. There’s no right or wrong. I love that attitude. I love that philosophy. It makes me feel excited about writing.

Zibby: Why not? Just throw it out there. See what sticks.

Adam: I would highly recommend subscribing to George Saunders’ Story Club. It is excellent.

Zibby: How did you end up, by the way, having all the different illustrators illustrate this book? That’s pretty rare to find also.

Adam: Like I said, I’ve been telling kids reading is fun for a while now. I wanted to convince them that writing is fun. I have found through experience that the biggest hurdle for kids, just like adults, is getting started. The terrifying sight of the blank page has stopped many aspiring writers from ever putting pen to paper or tickling the keyboard. It’s related to that question that I get asked all the time. Where do your ideas come from? Some people seem to think they have to have some sort of excellent idea or groundbreaking idea in order to write anything or make anything. The truth is, the idea is just an excuse to get started. What I tried to do is give everybody that reads the book an idea, which was the title, The Ice Cream Machine. This is different for every writer, I’m sure, but for me, I always start with the title. I look at The Ice Cream Machine and I think, this could be a million different stories. I can say that, but who’s going to believe me? So I wrote six totally different stories with the same title, The Ice Cream Machine. They’re totally different. They’re different genres, different characters, different universes. My hope is that that is proof enough for a reader to say, okay, I wrote six, now you write one. What’s your version of The Ice Cream Machine? You’ve got the title. You know where to start. Go ahead and write your own story. I actually want to read those stories too. I put my address in the book so that the kids can send them to me.

Zibby: I saw that.

Adam: I don’t know if you have a physical copy. The dust jacket of the book actually comes off, turns inside out, and transforms into an envelope that’s already addressed to me. The kid can put their story into that envelope, slap a stamp on it, and it will get to me in New York. If I get enough responses before the end of the year, I’m going to put the best ones in the paperback edition of The Ice Cream Machine. How cool would that be for a fifth-grade kid to be a published author?

Zibby: That’s really cool.

Adam: To the illustrators. I thought, all of these stories are different. I really want them to feel like they are from a totally different universe and that they’re totally distinct. I got this idea that it would be even more eclectic and diverse and wild to have every single story be illustrated by a different illustrator. It turns out that it looks awesome in the book. You flip through, you see all these different styles, these different people from all over the world that have illustrated these stories in this book. There’s Seaerra Miller, Nicole Miles, Charles Santoso, Emily Hughes, Liniers, and my pal Daniel Salmieri. More than that, it was, selfishly, a real opportunity to just collaborate with six very smart, very talented people. They read the stories. They had ideas about the stories. Then I got to incorporate their great ideas. They brought them to life in a way that I couldn’t have done without them. In that way, it was, for me, six times as exciting as working with just one illustrator.

Zibby: That’s amazing. I love that. You’re still going to do more picture books?

Adam: Yeah, I love picture books. I don’t want to be one of those people that’s like, I have seven picture books coming out this year. Yes, I could write a picture book that fast, but it’s like writing a song. You want it to be memorable. You want it to be something that you hum while you’re walking down the street and it gets stuck in your head. I do have some ideas for picture books. One a year, maybe, at most. I had a really cool idea for one that I got to build a prototype. If Robo-Sauce was a paper engineering challenge, this one’s going to be — it’s borderline pop-up. I got to figure it out. I’m excited about it.

Zibby: I love how you see the book as such an object, that the book itself is part of the experience, that it’s not just .

Adam: It really is. Look, you read a PDF of this book, The Ice Cream Machine, right?

Zibby: I did.

Adam: It’s just not the same.

Zibby: I know.

Adam: It’s just not the same. There is this kinesthetic experience of dealing with an object of the ritual you have — yeah, you do a lot of stuff in front of the computer. Some of it’s fun. Some of it’s really not fun. When you sit on the couch and you read a book, for me at least, I’m lucky, it’s always for pleasure. I go into a mindset that is about enjoying and relishing this time that I have with this author’s words and the sound of the pages turning and the feel of the book in my hand. I just got this great coffee table book, this designer called Nendo. It’s a design collective in Japan. It’s so heavy. It’s hard to read the book. It’s one of those huge — it’s a Phaidon book. It’s so big. That’s a totally different experience. I can’t sit in the way that I usually read. I have to sit down and look at these pictures. All of that contributes to a more rich and memorable experience with the stories, with the book, with the content that’s on those pages. I’ve had a and read on the beach. That is nice, but I find I remember those books poorly. Knowing how far along you are in the story and seeing where the bookmark is and where it is on the page, all of that somehow, in my brain, makes it a little easier to remember the whole thing.

Zibby: Me too, and having it on the shelf. Then every time I see it, I get reminded of it. I think about the characters again.

Adam: Right? I notice you have your books color-coded behind you.

Zibby: I do. I know this is —

Adam: — Very controversial.

Zibby: It is very controversial. I know. I didn’t realize how controversial. It’s been like that for a year. I love it. It makes me happy.

Adam: Look, everybody found a pandemic hobby. Everybody found a pandemic hobby.

Zibby: Yes, exactly. This is what I did.

Adam: Do you find that when you’re in your room with your books you feel smarter?

Zibby: Do I feel smarter?

Adam: Like you know more, like your knowledge is at hand, is more palpable and easier to access? When I moved to Barcelona, I brought a backpack and a suitcase. I put everything in storage. I had nothing with me. When I came back to New York three years later — I have a lot of books. This is a sliver. When I unpacked all those boxes and put all those books on the shelf, it felt like part of my brain, the mist had been cleared away. Now all those things that I had read were just a little bit more accessible in my memory.

Zibby: Yes, it’s true. I also feel like all the characters — this is going to sound ridiculous. When I look around, it’s like there are actually all these characters sort of dancing in the room. They’re hidden behind the spines, but really, they’re all here in the — this sounds ridiculous.

Adam: No, I love this.

Zibby: I feel like I’m actually in a room with all these characters. Sometimes I want to introduce the characters to each other in different books.

Adam: Who would be your matchmaking pair?

Zibby: I actually was so convinced that these two characters would be friends that I emailed the authors, Elyssa Friedland and Lauren Weisberger. I was like, the main characters of your books have to meet. I’m always introducing people. I was like, these guys have to meet. Could you just write a — I don’t know. Get them to meet. Write it together or something. They were like, oh, that’s nice.

Adam: At least go out for coffee.

Zibby: Or something. I know it’s ridiculous. I feel like characters have a whole life. Why should the life end? You put it out into the universe, and then it doesn’t end. I keep thinking about a lot of the characters. Who’s to say their life ends just because you stop writing about them?

Adam: You’re a connector.

Zibby: I’m a connector. I am.

Adam: That’s a very selfless and important kind of role to play. That’s what Corey did for me and Dan. He is a connector. He’s the kind of guy that walks around New York City and — you can’t go anywhere with him. You go to some basement bar in Queens. Somebody walks in. Hey, Corey! He is just that sort of a person. Those people are fun to be friends with because you wind up going to cool parties.

Zibby: Thanks. Let’s be friends. My husband, when he moved to New York he was like, “I don’t understand how every time we open the door you run into somebody you know. How is that even possible?” I’m like, “I don’t know. It’s just one of those things.”

Adam: Are you good at remembering names?

Zibby: I wish I were better. As I’ve gotten older, I’m not as good. I hate that. I remember other things about them.

Adam: I heard a good trick. I’ve used this trick. It works for me. I don’t know if I’m just good at remembering names or not. It’s that you say the name three times when you first meet the person. The first thing is, you have to want to remember their name. That’s the first thing.

Zibby: You have to care.

Adam: It’s Daoist. Eliminate desire. First step, eliminate. Okay, that’s a hard one. You have to really want to remember their name. Then the second step is you say it three times. You’re like, Zibby. I go, oh, Zibby, that’s an interesting name. Zibby. I’ve never met a Zibby before. Now I’ve got Zibby. Well, probably very few people forget your name. That’s a little technique I’ve been using in all of the many, many people I’m meeting in person in the last two years.

Zibby: All right, I’ll try that. My husband always makes it sound funny, like, “Adam, Ah-dam, how are you doing?” He has to separate the syllables and make it a fun thing. Then he remembers.

Adam: Whatever works for you.

Zibby: Whatever works for you.

Adam: Everybody’s favorite word is their own name.

Zibby: True. Should I say yours a few more times?

Adam: You know what’s weird? This is just a little personal quirk. When I was a kid, there were so many Adams in my grade growing up in Upstate New York. I say Upstate New York because I’m sitting in Brooklyn. It’s actually the southernmost tip of New York in Rockland County. There was nine Adams. I’m not exaggerating. Nine Adams in my grade. It was a very popular name in the early eighties. I was never called Adam. I was always called Rubin. Even today, that has continued. All through high school, I was Rubin. College, Rubin. Even now, people meet me, maybe they call me Adam when they first meet me, but eventually, they wind up calling me Rubin. My wife, for example, if we’re in a crowd and she’s trying to get my attention, she won’t yell Adam. I won’t turn around. She’ll yell Rubin.

Zibby: Interesting. Secret trick here.

Adam: Secrets.

Zibby: Secrets, love it. By the way, you should have a podcast. I don’t think you have one unless you’re hiding it. Do you have a podcast?

Adam: TBD. Stay tuned.

Zibby: I was going to say, if you don’t and you want it on my — I can help or put you on the network or whatever, hook you up. It sounds like you’re all good.

Adam: We’ll see. Let’s see what happens. Fingers crossed.

Zibby: I better let you go. I feel like I could talk to you all day.

Adam: Did I plug the book?

Zibby: You plugged the book. Ice Cream Machine.

Adam: The Ice Cream Machine. If you want the children in your life that you know, the kids to became fully actualized, happy people, you must buy them this book. Likely, you should buy two copies for them in case they want to read it more than once.

Zibby: Good pitch. I like it. Bye, Adam or Rubin.

Adam: Bye, Zibby. Thank you for having me.

Zibby: Thanks for coming. Buh-bye.



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