About David Kadavy

David Kadavy with Medellin skylineI’m David Kadavy. I’m an author and podcaster. I think we’re in a creative age, where we humans have to be productive through ideas, instead of basic procedural- or even “knowledge”-work.

So, I explore how to make something when you don’t know what you’re making, how to get the courage to do things that might not work, and how to find that one thing that only you can do for the world.

On my weekly Love Mondays newsletter, I share the very best gems I’ve learned on how to make it as a creator. Sign up here:

I was an advisor to Timeful, an AI-powered calendar app, built upon my mind management principles. Google bought Timeful in 2015, and has integrated some Timeful features into their Calendar app.

My books include Mind Management, Not Time Management, The Heart to Start: Stop Procrastinating & Start Creating, Digital Zettelkasten, Design for Hackers (which debuted in the top 20 on all of Amazon), and multiple “short reads”. I’ve sold more than 100,000 books, in twelve languages.

I’ve spoken in eight countries, including appearances at SXSW, TEDx, The New York Public Library, The Museum of Contemporary Art, and The University of Chicago. My writing has been featured in Observer, The Huffington Post, Inc.com, Quartz, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Upworthy, and Lifehacker.

In my past career as a designer, my work gained international recognition, including being featured in Communication Arts.

What is my why?

The motivations behind my work are personal. In 2004, I was stuck in a cubicle in Nebraska. One day, I gained enough courage to write my first post on this blog. Since then, I’ve worked in Silicon Valley as a product designer, spoken in eight countries, lived “mini lives” around the world, and moved to Colombia to double down on writing and podcasting.

I was able to make this shift thanks to following my curiosity, investing in myself, constantly improving my ability to be both creative and productive, and of course good and bad luck.

I’m so grateful for this change in direction, I want to prevent others from making the mistake I almost made – the mistake of living the wrong life.

What is my style?

I support my advice on creative productivity and motivation with research in behavioral science, neuroscience, and psychology. In fact, I worked with behavioral scientist Dan Ariely on a productivity app called Timeful. Google bought Timeful, and now its features are a part of Google Calendar.

But, I steer clear of dryly citing one study after another. I hate pop-sci books that are a blog post with 200 pages of filler, cherry picking studies that don’t replicate. I prefer to have skin in the game. My advice is based upon my own personal experimentation. I make this stuff for myself first. That obviously won’t work for everyone, but I strive to abstract it enough that people can apply it to their own situations.

I question the mores of the traditional publishing industry, and – though I do have one traditionally-published book – I have learned a lot self publishing.

Where am I?

I’m very active on Twitter / X, have gained a following on TikTok but am not so sure about it, have dabbled in Instagram, and try to keep my Goodreads up-to-date.

I currently live in a cabin in the country outside Medellín, Colombia, which I chose as my home base after extended stays in many places around the world.

I’m originally from Omaha, Nebraska, and have also lived in San Francisco; Chicago; San Jose; Kearney, Nebraska; Ames, Iowa.

I’ve done month-or-longer “mini lives” in Rome, Buenos Aires, Brooklyn, Austin, and Manhattan.

I frequently visit family in Scottsdale, Arizona and friends in Chicago.

Saying “Kadavy”

It’s KAD-uh-VEE: “KAD” like “CAT,” “uh” like “duh,” “VEE” like “KNEE.” But, I’m not really too picky about what you call me, as long as it’s not “jerkface,” or something like that.

Common misspellings include cadavy, catavy, katavy, cadavey, kavady and kadavey.

Contacting me

If you want to get in touch with me, you can always @mention me on Twitter / X, but I also get emails at david (at) kadavy (dot) net. Please do not pitch to be on my podcast (it’s no longer active). However, I’d probably love to be on your podcast.

Book a call with me

If you’d like to get real-time advice from me about self publishing, Zettelkasten, or anything else, book a call here.

I occasionally makes myself available for no cost, no obligation introductory, ask me anything, short chats. Check availability.

Photos / Headshots

For press photos, choose from any of the above, or click any of the below images to access a high-resolution version.

kadavy-2016-circular-avatar kadavy-writing