Andrei Cherny, a former speechwriter for Bill Clinton, left the political world in 2013 to help found Aspiration, the online financial firm that provides consumers with ethical, sustainable banking, and investment accounts. As CEO, Cherny, who is also an author, Democracy Journal cofounder, and a carpool-driving dad, has overseen the firm’s expansion into new products and helping customers shop with companies that score high on the Aspiration Impact Measurement (AIM) scale, while giving customers a bank they feel they can trust.
Here, the executive reveals his tips and tools for getting the most out of every day.
Which app do you look at . . .
Once a day? Word Cookies
Once an hour? Twitter
Far too often? Email
What’s your necessary vice?
I buy a ridiculous number of $1.99 Kindle Books on special that I will never get the chance to read, but it allows me to hoard books without having to find a place to put them.
What’s your favorite thing to eat when . . .
You’re in the middle of work and need a quick burst of energy? Red Vines
When you need a quick takeout lunch? Taco Bell
When you have plenty of time to go out and eat? Revolving Sushi
What’s your Off Switch?
Watching old episodes of Rick Steves’ Europe. I wish I had the chance to travel more, and there’s something soothing and calming about his show
What books are on your nightstand?
Imagine It Forward by Beth Comstock. Personal reflections and great advice from the head of innovation at GE.
If We Can Keep It: A Brief 300 Year History of the Fall of the Republic by Michael Tomasky; Can American Capitalism Survive? by Steve Pearlstein; Can Democracy Work? by James Miller. I have some worries about our present situation . . .
This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Philipps. Bracingly honest and hilarious memoir.
The Flying Tigers: The Untold Story of the American Pilots Who Waged a Secret War Against Japan by Sam Kleiner. A great adventure story.
Ramona’s World by Beverly Cleary. My daughter and I are sad about reaching the end of Miss Quimby’s misadventures.
What’s your On Switch?
Where do you go to relax and recharge?
Growing up in Los Angeles, San Diego was our go-to place for a weekend summer vacation. I now love taking my own family to Old Town, Seaport Village, and Coronado (where my wife and I got engaged).
What product are you currently in love with?
The Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker is one of the greatest inventions of all time.
What classic product do you still use because nobody’s ever improved on it?
What are your favorite travel tips?
The combination of TSA Precheck, Southwest A List, and never, ever, no-matter-what checking a bag makes a huge difference in my day-to-day life.
What song do you listen to . . .
When you’re waking up? “Moving Right Along” and “Life’s a Happy Song” from The Muppets. My first music of the morning is often while driving carpool. I loved these songs when I was a kid, and I’m so glad to share them with my kids.
When you’re driving? “Take on Me” by A-ha. The greatest era of music was the early ’80s. This is a song that makes me want to roll down my windows and share it with the world.
When you’re working out? (Is this where I’m supposed to pretend I regularly work out?)
When you’re hard at work on a big project? Silence
To get psyched for a big presentation? “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News. It has a great beat, and remembering Marty McFly skateboarding through Hill Valley in Back to the Future gets me in the headspace where no one can call me chicken.
To mellow out at the end of the day? “The Old West Wind” by Cowboy Keith Burden. “Cowboy Keith” is a former logger who lives in South Dakota’s Black Hills in a cabin he built himself. His music is hard to find, but it’s authentic and stirring.