Thoughts On… Friendships worthy of a THINKER THURSDAYS™ lunch

by Devin D. Marks (“The TED Talk Whisperer”)
Founder |

I’m often asked, “Where do you find your VIP lunch-mates for your Thinker Thursdays and do friends count?”

My answer? “Sure those ‘unreachable’ MacArthur Genius types and Nobel laureates are fascinating and welcome a Thinker Thursday lunch invitation. But often the most rewarding way to enjoy an analog, extended conversation over a meal is to reconnect with a friend.”

Early on, in designing my 4-day workweek THINKER THURSDAYS™ practice, I knew I’d be traveling out west. Since I’d be in Montana for a couple weeks, with family visiting my in-laws, I searched LinkedIn to see who I knew near Bozeman.

I was pleasantly surprised to discover a high school-era friend whom I hadn’t seen in 30 years or so. I reached out. We set something up.

And we picked up (emotionally) right where we left off.  #MagicalMemories 

In fact, here’s the story of that encounter with THINKER Kris Merkel

On the same trip, I also reached out on LinkedIn to a VIP author whose work I’d long admired from afar. Since I was going to be in Big Sky Country, I thought I’d give it a shot. 

It didn’t work that year — schedules being what they are for busy people. But we enjoyed a short phone chat. And I stayed in touch.

The following year, I was again passing through Bozeman. And naturally, I touched base, inquiring as to his schedule. Again, busy. But later, we jumped on a Zoom web meeting to well, “meet.” Again, busy people. But the third year… By the time we met that third time around, we were like old friends. (In fact, by that point, we were collaborating on a project together.) 

So reach out. Be patient. Be persistent — in a polite way. And who knows!

As I’ve suggested before, a “thinker” needn’t be a million-view TED-ster or best-selling thought leader who lives across the country. When you consider your “thinker” line-up, think local. Think friends. Think friends-of-friends. Instead of beginning with credentials, ask yourself, “Who should I reconnect with, next Thursday?”

(That simple pivot removes one barrier to ramping up a weekly thinker-something.)

What’s more, if it is a friend, that whole burden of cold calls, LinkedIn invitations, and when-where logistics evaporates.

“What say, we meet at [ fill in favorite place ]?”

After all, the undergirding point of this exercise is to connect. To pause. To focus. To listen.  #PauseFocusListen

Do that once a week, regularly, and you’re a solid step towards your own expression of THINKER THURSDAYS. 

I hope this inspires you to give someone a call this week. Why not, right?

And there you have it, some varied approaches to kick your lunch ritual into gear.

To connect with the THINKER THURSDAY movement and begin a 4-day workweek practice of your own, click here. (Some hard-won, helpful tips will come your way.)

Incidentally, if you’ve experienced a special connection of your own, over a THINKER THURSDAYS meal. please SHARE BELOW.

And here’s to those many friendships worthy of lunch!


Devin D. Marks is “The TED Talk Whisperer and co-founder of the speaker messaging and story training firm, He has trained hundreds of speakers in the TED and TED-style form via His clients enjoy tens-of-millions of views on Additionally, he is the grateful host of THINKER THURSDAYS.

The analog, four-day workweek practice, THINKER THURSDAYS™ involves reading a real book; connecting with a “thinker” over lunch; and reflecting on paper with pen. To learn more or join in, click here. Or visit: | Read. Connect. Reflect.