Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or with RSS, and be sure to leave us a review!

Here’s the Wild Idea

Karen’s Wild Idea: To share bold, brave, wild stories, both her own and by others through books and essays with the world. Also, to embrace surfing at an older age, a sport that’s taught her why it’s so great to suck at something.

Karen Rinaldi is a writer, publisher, and the creator of Harper Wave, an imprint of Harper Collins that has published the work of three past guests: Jaimal Yogis, Mark Lukach and Steph Jagger. Karen has also published books by authors like Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof Coffee movement, Dr. Gundry of The Plant Paradox, and Tony Horton of P90X, to name a few.

In addition to her literary life, Karen is also a surfer. She started at age 40, and recently wrote an essay in the New York Times that every surf writer’s mom sent them (including my own) titled, “It’s Great to Suck at Something.” I loved her story, and all of her essays I’ve read. I also don’t have a lot of mentors that are females, writers, publishers, and surfers, so when I find someone like Karen, I have to share her knowledge.

Karen talks about her perspective on surfing, why it’s important to suck at something, the difference between a good adventure and a great story, how to get published, and the books you should be reading.

Listen to this Episode if

  • You suck at surfing (or anything, really).
  • You like trying new things, no matter how good you think you’ll be.
  • You’re an avid reader.
  • You want to write a book and get published.
  • You love the Modern Love column in the New York Times.
  • Your family is important to you.

Key Takeaways

  • 5:30 – What happened to Karen when she started surfing.
  • 10:00 – Why it’s important to suck at something.
  • 14:00 – How the patience she’s learned from sucking at surfing has translated to the rest of her life.
  • 15:30 – Why you should strike the phrase “Why don’t they just…” from your vocabulary.
  • 16:15 – How love and surfing go hand in hand.
  • 22:25 – Karen’s history with publishing.
  • 25:45 – The difference between a great adventure and a great story.
  • 28:50 – How to get over the fear of telling your story.
  • 32:00 – Her children are an essential part of her life.
  • 34:00 – Why you have to listen to your body and feed it the right stuff.
  • 37:15 – Good books for a surf trip.
  • 42:00 – Why you shouldn’t be afraid of the ocean.
  • 44:00 – You should try sucking at something.

Links Mentioned

This episode was also brought to you by KEEN
Soma Surf Resort in Nicaragua

Awesome book Karen recommends gifting

Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All by Allan Gurganus
Breath by Tim Winton
Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit
The Neapolitan Quartet by Elena Ferrante
Deep by James Nestor
The Wave by Susan Casey
To the Last Breath by Dr. Francis Slakey
When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron
The Gift by Lewis Hyde
 Lifework by Donald Hall
The Unknown Craftsman by Yanagi Soetsu


Maggie’s Plan Film

Books & Pieces

Motherhood Isn’t Sacrifice, Is Selfishness by Karen Rinaldi
What is a Man For by Karen Rinaldi
(It’s Great to) Suck at Something
What Surfing and The Ocean Taught Me About Motherhood 

Connect with Karen



Wild Ideas Worth Living on Facebook
Wild Ideas Worth Living on Instagram
Wild Ideas Worth Living on Twitter


Enjoying the Show?

  • Please comment below!
  • Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE TODAY and leave a much-appreciated review in iTunes.