Sometimes when I go out and talk about the ideas in AWNM, I have time do some exercises with the audience.  And one of my new favorites is the six-word memoir,which helps demonstrate and hone the power of story. The idea comes from the endlessly entertaining book, Not Quite What I Was Planning, in which people famous 2284536072_e08555d41a.jpg and not write their autobiographies in just six words.

For example, Stephen Colbert’s six-word memoir is “Well, I thought it was funny.” Another: “Found true love, married someone else.”  There were several gems ones at the business conference I attended today.  Here are a few of my favorites (all penned by people who had about five minutes to think and write.) 

* Navy blue is my favorite color.  

* Did what I was supposed to.

* Happy, sad, angry, confident, really happy. 

* Unsure, but you would never know.

(UPDATE: We’re now doing this over at, too.)

205 Responses to “Six word stories can say lots.”

  1. Andrew says:

    Followed the rules; wish I hadn’t.

  2. Avatar photo Dan Pink says:

    The story of my life:

    Pink. Yes. Just like the color.

  3. Judd6149 says:

    “Buy the ticket. Take the ride”

  4. Paul says:

    Reminds me of a photographer who handed blank cards to people of all walks of life, asked them to write whatever they liked on it and shot them holding the card. The results were amazing – funny, sad, brave, poignant – every story was there.

    My 6 word memoir: Found a new groove almost everyday.

  5. Living my fourth draft. Revising regularly.

  6. Mark Juane says:

    There’s gotta be a better way.

  7. Be. Know. Do. Become. Reflect. Repeat.

  8. Mad Gringo says:

    Ooh, shiny! Change course. Oops. Shiny!

  9. Hey Dan, thanks for the post!

  10. Eric Grasso says:

    Hi Mr. Pink,

    Recently you commented on my friend and Principal Ray Dewar’s blog. I was thinking what person has to be like when they are creating constantly and still taking the time to connect with people. I am envious. As a high school math teacher I can’t help but admire your work. You create, edit write, and reflect with a huge audience. I feel my calling is writing and dream to accomplish much more. You have given me a role model. I just want you to know what your focusing on grows. My girlfriend told me to write you and I had it in my mind so when you commentted to Ray I had to sent this. Ray shared your book with me in September and my students know all about your work. I will continue to spread the word on how to know and be yourself.

    Not exactly six words, I know

    Learn everything until heart can’t beat

  11. Deep as Ocean, Shallow as Puddle.

  12. Mark Dyck says:

    Read lots. Thought lots. Did lots.

    Hey, that’s kind of like a fortune cookie! Add “Dan’s Books” at the end, sorta.

    Read lots of Dan’s Books (OK, two)
    Thought lots about Dan’s Books. (true)
    Did lots based on Dan’s books (certainly with A Whole New Mind, and starting with Johnny Bunko)

    It doesn’t fit near as well as “in bed” but it’s getting there 🙂

  13. Lise says:

    I forgot it was all a dream!

  14. Penelope says:

    Always wanted to be somewhere else

    Six words that reveal one’s self

  15. My mom always knew I was gifted.

  16. Eve says:

    Yes, I can make that happen.

  17. jack adams says:

    Life is what happens
    While you’re making other plans.
    Or so says my Mom.

    I took the HaiKu path Dan

  18. Gertrude Wilkes says:

    Walked far away,
    started over happy

  19. jack adams says:

    Life is short
    Art lives on

  20. Steven Stark says:

    To thine own self be true.

    As usual, Shakespeare said it best.

  21. Dana says:

    Expanding your mind with good books. (more of a job description than a memior)

    Living, Learning, and Loving my Life! (now that’s a memior)

  22. Mary Jo says:

    Life’s path surprised yet delighted me

  23. morningstar says:


    Just stopped by your blog. Wonderful recommendations on public speaking (I belong to a Toastmasters Club) and on books (going to check out those about writing, which is something I’ve been trying to engage on for some years now).

    My life in 6 words (so far):
    It all happened inside my head.

    Congratulations on a great webpage. Please carry on (for the sake of all of us).

  24. jarrod says:

    Rough drafts are all I write.

  25. Roads less traveled are my highways.

  26. Patti Westaway says:

    Consistently inconsistent. Yet that is me.

  27. Brunsell says:

    Throw ideas to see what sticks

  28. Brett says:

    Full of big ideas lacking attention.

  29. Frank Murphy says:

    I’m making each day a masterpiece!

    When is now a good time?

  30. Sarah Brophy says:

    Searching for balance and overdoing it.

  31. brandy says:

    Oops! I lost count.

  32. Forever exploring, experimenting to become me.

  33. April Moore says:

    So much more than I expected 🙂

  34. We laugh. We will make it.

  35. Phil Dourado says:

    Seize the what? Oh, too late…

  36. Sarah Merritt says:

    How much can I fit in?

  37. Jim LoPresti says:

    To my own self was true

    Shakespeare revisited…

  38. Mom wanted me to be “normal.”

  39. Jeaninne Coulombe says:

    Remained curious with around next corner.

  40. Michele says:

    Extremely moderate, unless cookies are involved.

  41. Beth says:

    I grew up, then became young.

  42. Pete says:

    Egad! Mom and Dad were right.

  43. Jorge R. Gonzalez says:

    Variety. Continuity. Preservering to the end.

  44. Teresa Clarke says:

    Me = Family, friends, cooking, reading, gardening, walks = happiness

  45. Sid de Haan says:

    Did the right thing. Was wrong.

  46. Lindsay says:

    The way I always live life:

    Random is the way to be.

  47. Gene H says:

    I think Van Morrison put it best…

    No guru, no method, no teacher

  48. AK says:

    Peace drives my mind to success.

  49. tss says:

    when scribbling, take lines in stride.

  50. davidbdale says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

    Made love to my life, briefly.

  51. Samethia says:

    Don’t put forks in the toaster

  52. Susan says:

    Would do it again, the same!

  53. Susan says:

    Ran from danger,lived free since!

  54. Julie Nelson says:

    Ancora Imparo: I am still learning

    -Michelangelo, 1562. And yet it fits me today. Huh.

  55. Daniel.W.Ham says:

    Home was where I found myself.

  56. Daniel.W.Ham says:

    Wherever I found myself was home.

  57. Lucas says:

    another day, another $0.50 at mcdonalds

  58. Somebody Else says:

    Work, sleep, happy. Work, sleep, happy 🙁

  59. HC says:

    i have lived for other people.

  60. HC says:

    spent too much time inside myself.

  61. Paige says:

    One heart that loves like three.

  62. jacki says:

    my best freind is my cat.

  63. Mohd says:

    Borne, lived, been loved, died, forgotten

  64. Larry Smith says:

    This is Larry Smith (“Big, hair, big heart, big hurry”), from SMITH Magazine, the folks behind the six-word memoir craze. If anyone wants to post any theirs from here, or new six worders, at, you’d be considered for one of our future books. Hope you come check us out – thanks. -Larry

  65. Surrounded by smart and supportive people.

  66. Trevor says:

    My mom said I was cool

  67. Dan says:

    Why is life always so hard?

    I wish I was someone else.

    I just want to be liked.

    Time to start living my life.

  68. Derek Michel says:

    Yes I have two first names.

  69. Gina B. says:

    I love the six-word memoir idea. In fact, I was just writing a blog post for our A WHOLE NEW MIND book study blog using the concept of six-word memoirs as an activity for the “Story” section. 🙂

  70. Bruno says:

    Keep on searching, don’t sell out.

  71. Tanny says:

    Teachers: Challenge your students to write Six-Word Book Reports! To do so requires a great depth of thinking and the ability to synthesize. A fourth grade class I work with has recently written their Six-Word reports and they are incredible!

  72. Margaret Stewart says:

    Was kind, to herself and others.

  73. LennyP says:

    Happy-go-lucky; now sometimes lucky, somewhat happy

  74. DaniS says:

    Tested my way through life, ahh!

  75. Rocky One says:

    Am I free to go home?

  76. Skye says:

    Why me… why not… why ask?

  77. Georgann says:

    I will always be a student.

  78. iggy iggins says:

    do. be. do. be. do. die.

    (frankly, not even a frank fan)

  79. Teacher Lamp says:

    30 years; 8th grade; explains much!

  80. bill says:

    Be happy with what you have.

    Thats my memoir! 😀

  81. Stephanie Redmond says:

    Smile more, life isn’t that bad.

  82. Stephanie Redmond says:

    Blue uniform, at attention; My Marine.

  83. Stephanie Redmond says:

    In a world of make believe.

  84. Stephanie Redmond says:

    Never stopped trying, never stopped living.

  85. Stephanie Redmond says:

    Love ends in depression…depression sucks.

  86. Stephanie Redmond says:

    On rollercoaster. Which one? My life.

  87. alex says:

    2 am still up mountain dew

  88. sherri parker says:

    friend, lover, ex. been all three

  89. sherri parker says:

    friends hurt more than enemies

  90. Karen says:

    I will do it by Monday! 😉

    Sharing kindness, sharing money-give life.

    Accept, be blessed; appreciate, blessed more.

    (Left-handed people can rule the world too 🙂

  91. I thought it was turned off

  92. Mandi says:

    Tough gets going, going gets tough

  93. Priya says:

    Education reform: Stop testing. Start teaching.

    I’m indecisive. Really, Or am I?

    Can you count up to six?

    Save trees. No homework please.

    That’s impossible! Wait…there it is.

  94. Porter says:

    Always looked on the bright side

  95. Katie says:

    Living, Laughing, Learning; A Blessed Life

  96. katie says:

    I don’t color in the lines

  97. Daniel says:

    …Six, Five, Four, Three, Two,…Won.

  98. Steven says:

    Fifteen Years Young, Story Still Untold

  99. :) says:

    my heart beats while days pass.

  100. Michelle says:

    sticks and stone hurt the outside

  101. Grace says:

    still becoming who I was before

  102. Ally says:

    A in doodling, C in algebra.

  103. Ally says:

    milk plus new car equals bad

  104. Ally says:

    never ride scooter in pouring rain

  105. Ally says:

    Really should be doing homework now

  106. Ally says:

    ADHD forgot to take ADHD meds.

  107. Ally says:

    homework homework homework whole entire life

  108. Ally says:

    So mad. Wait is that cookie?

  109. Lynn Robson says:

    I’m more than just a pretty package.

  110. Wendy says:

    Living my life out loud daily.

  111. Linda says:

    Still learning…everyday is an adventure.

  112. Melissa says:

    Curiosity made a very interesting cat.

  113. Ali says:

    I should have been Audrey Hepburn

  114. Jody says:

    The motto of the City of Paris:
    Fluctuat Nec Mergitur

    In Latin it’s three words, in English it’s six:
    Tossed by waves, she swims on.

  115. Niklas says:

    Never exactly as planned. Sometimes better.

  116. Amanda says:

    The mess you’ve put yourself in.
    Lock without key. Broken, now free.
    Six words. Always a different story.
    I want my best friend back.
    For Sale: Girl with broken heart.

  117. Cheryl says:

    Love what I’m doing right now!

  118. Nic says:

    You forget something new every day!

  119. Kelly says:

    Full steam ahead, constantly looking back!
    Full of inspiration, lack of motivation.
    Hmm can’t choose

  120. JPOM says:

    House engulfed in flames, Made Lemonade

  121. Paul says:

    Rock. Paper. Scissors. And sex.

  122. TracY Martineau says:

    Laughed much. Loved much. Grateful always.

  123. Madasyn says:

    I’m happy. Who’s perfect now mom?

  124. Annette Super says:

    A mix of sidelines and spotlights

  125. Regina says:

    Finally listening to myself. Loving life.

    Late bloomer, proud to be independent.

  126. Met a girl at a bar.

  127. Joseph Rooks says:

    Perhaps the most often quoted example comes from Hemingway:

    “For sale: baby shoes, never used.”

  128. MIlli says:

    2 roads, which one to take?

  129. Marti says:

    Curiosity killed cat, works for me.

  130. The Lioness says:

    Great potential is a curse.

  131. RJ says:

    H-O-L-Z, No T

  132. SV says:

    found true me in my forties

  133. AD says:

    Talk less – Listen more. Attention. Understanding.

  134. Jean T says:

    Worried too much what others thought.
    Tossed by waves, she sails on.
    Knocked down, back up, sail on.

  135. Meena says:

    Life is a challenge, take it
    dream big, when things dont happen
    My Life is full of possibilities
    Dream Big, whenever you can,can’t!
    Never think small, It costs future
    Things happen, you can’t help it
    I’m heard, thanks to the Internet

  136. Karen says:

    Only one time around. Think big.

  137. Evandro says:

    Be curious, be honest, be happy!

  138. Nora says:

    Easy lessons learned the hard way!

  139. Alan says:

    His acute rage; His personal Kryptonite

  140. Morgan says:

    I could’ve done it in five.

  141. Jenna says:

    Who said tan lines were ugly? 🙂

  142. Rot Wein says:

    This is really funny and true.

  143. xela says:

    I’d rather be on the field.

    Smile even with out the camera.

    It was all just a dream.

    Smile more, life will get better.

  144. Hilda says:

    Mom memories are my most precious.

  145. Najoua Soudi says:

    Thanks Dan :).
    My 6 word memoir: found true meaning, constantly searching it.

  146. Went for it, braving the mistakes.

  147. Drew Brown says:

    Love is like…
    Bars and chains

  148. Tracey Holland says:

    Thought it should have been – Me

  149. Hilary says:

    1. There was a cow, he died.
    2. Worked hard, got tired, slept well.
    3. Got Halloween candy, Mom ate it.

  150. Jeff says:

    Very little worth worying about.

  151. Emma says:

    found other lost self alone now

  152. Carolyn Hock says:

    Catch and release – what’s the point?

  153. Moved to New Orleans, never left.

  154. Danae says:

    Never trusted men. Learned to love.

    Depression consumed me. Not any more.

  155. Max says:

    Outside the box, inside the chimney

  156. Shannon says:

    Its never going to be enough.

  157. Gavin says:

    I must have misplaced my head.

  158. Josh says:

    Sometimes im happy, but mostly not.

  159. Jaxon says:

    Life goes fast, eat dessert first

  160. Jasmine says:

    Smothered in love. Never happy though…

  161. JACKSONXDMAN says:

    There’s my car rolling away…CRAP!

  162. C.J. says:

    Remove wrapper from Poptart before Microwaving.

  163. Sean Burns says:

    Its too risky, to be safe

  164. Brianna says:

    Might seem happy

    but really

  165. Karla says:

    Baby boomer, longing for second boom.

  166. Dave Inglis says:

    The open door is behind you.

  167. Mim says:

    MIMic great thought leaders for success.

  168. Brian Davis says:

    The vision for my life….

    Model Excellence: Collaborate, Serve, Inspire Others.

  169. Not the chosen one says:

    I knew I wasn’t the one </3

  170. “I told you I was ill” (Spike Milligan’s epitaph)

  171. Julie Biddle says:

    I will not let them win

  172. lauren says:

    bacon bacon bacon unicorns bacon bacon

  173. Grace Fitzgerald says:

    New girls doll, still in packaging.

  174. Jon Kinsella says:

    Recognized the writer runs the show.

  175. Manveer says:

    Hangovers, Hedonism and a little Happiness

  176. E White says:

    When in doubt smile lifes short.

  177. Smiley face says:

    Where the water is deeper, jump.

  178. Claire says:

    Lost and found: bunch of friends.

  179. Stacey says:

    I’m happy and I know it.

  180. Risked everything and lived my dream.

  181. Megan says:

    I wrote two:

    Wept bitterly, welcomed the questions, dreamt

    Slowed down, loved a good man

  182. John says:

    The world is amazing – look around!

  183. sol says:

    thought I couldn’t but I can

  184. Astrell says:

    Found someone…
    But lost myself

  185. coxster says:

    Big veggi meatball, pig feels offended

  186. Lisa says:

    Steam rises as heavy rains fall.

  187. Ashley says:

    Finding the music in me
    Find a star, make a wish
    I walked in the opposite direction
    Two paths. One crowded. I’m alone.
    My life isn’t black and white.
    Said I couldn’t, proved myself wrong

  188. Nadia says:

    My choice, my story, my life

  189. Kevin Le says:

    Woman without her man is nothing

  190. Melissa says:

    I’ve learned to laugh out loud.

  191. rohan sood says:

    he did’t ask just took it.

  192. daniel matthews says:

    work hard, good things will come

  193. judy johnson says:

    ate turkey,gave praise to God

  194. Sarah says:

    Half-way between my dreams and reality

  195. bobby says:

    the best is yet to come

  196. Johnsey says:

    Six word stories are cool procrastination.

  197. Tierney says:

    I write better when I’m mourning.

  198. For sale, Baby shoes, Never worn.

  199. Keishla Ceaser-Jones says:

    Walk with purpose; head on swivel.

  200. Jean says:

    I am learning all the time.