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About Us

(The story of Misfit Press is inextricably linked to the story of Misfit Incorporated, which is inextricably linked to the story of AJ and Melissa Leon. These fascinating stories have been told at length on many other occasions – in newspapers, on TEDx stages, during numerous interviews and chance meetings in wine bars. If you want to explore the weird and wonderful company that is Misfit Incorporated, peruse our site. For the full backstory, check out this video interview.)

Misfit Press itself was established in 2014, with the publication of AJ Leon’s The Life & Times of a Remarkable Misfit. The little-known backstory to The Life & Times is that it was originally slated to be published by a major American publisher, who headhunted AJ after noticing the popularity of his blog, The Pursuit of Everything. About a third of the way through the writing of the book, AJ began to get twitchy about the compromises involved in traditional publishing: uncompromising editorial pressure, a lack of say on issues such as design and artwork. Not long later, AJ bailed on the contract, and decided to publish the book himself. The Misfit team created and ran a Kickstarter, aimed at raising $15,000 to cover publishing costs. By the time the fundraising had run its course, pledges totalled more than treble that amount. With the excess funds, AJ and Misfit decided to go one better than just publishing a book, and also founded a publishing house.

Since its founding, Misfit Press has steadily flourished. In 2015, we took under our wing Wolftree, the finest arts journal in the American Midwest; we released our 2015 Anthology, featuring the finest creative work we encountered over the preceding year; and The Life & Times of a Remarkable Misfit continued to find readers across the globe. In 2016 we published Destination Shakespeare, the debut poetry collection from esteemed Shakespeare academic Paul Edmondson; and we have more Shakespeare-related publications in the works for 2017, including Shakespeare On The Road, a tale of a Shakespearian adventure across the US.

Last  year was a big growth period for the Press, and there is lots more on the way for 2017. As you’ll see from our Forthcoming Publications section, over the next twelve months we will be publishing Saya Sayama: Three Years in Myanmar by incredible photojournalist Spike Johnson, a photonarrative account documenting a unique moment in Myanmar’s history: the violent shift from General Ne Win’s fifty-year dictatorship to the country’s first steps towards democracy. Also imminent is Tangentially Reading, featuring some of the most insightful, shocking, touching, and hilarious moments from the first 200 episodes of Christopher Ryan’s much-loved podcast, Tangentially Speaking.

These are exciting times at Misfit Press. To keep up to date with everything that’s going on, follow us at our blogFacebook, Twitter and/or Instagram. Into the future, we will always continue to work in the fashion we do right now: with authors we like, on projects that matter, in a way that leaves writer, reader and everyone in-between satisfied. We will also never renege on our One-for-One pledge; for every publication we ever sell, a child in India will receive money towards prescription eyeglasses, via the Misfit Foundation.

w: Matt

w: Matt

Loyal as a Book #2Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists)

Loyal as a Book #2

“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway

Misfit Press’s Loyal as a Book series is composed of short, illuminating interviews with readers. It uncovers and explores the reading lives of people from across the globe, coming from all walks of life.


Currently residing in Missoula, MT, Ryan Nicodemus was born 1981 in Knoxville, TN. Ryan is best-known for his writings on The Minimalists website, and has co-authored three best sellers: Minimalism: Essential Essays; Minimalism: Live a Meaningful Life; and Everything That Remains. Ryan has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Boston Globe, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Star, Globe & Mail, CBS This Morning, ABC, NBC, FOX, NPR, CBC Radio, and various other outlets. He has toured internationally and has spoken at Harvard Business School, SXSW, World Domination Summit, and various other organizations, schools, and conferences.

What does reading mean to you?

I love to read. It hasn’t always been this way. Before my corporate days, reading was something I did only when I had to (e.g., studying for an exam, assigned books in school, etc.). When I was 24 years old I read my first nonfiction book, Good to Great by Jim Collins. I had a lot of great take-aways from the book, and it opened my eyes to what a book was capable of doing to my perspective. I’ve read a lot of nonfiction for wisdom and insight, but I love fiction too. It can be a great escape. John Steinbeck is someone who can write so well that when I read his work I sometimes feel like I’m in the story. Reading can be a gateway to a whole new perspective, or world.

What is the first book you remember really loving?

Disclaimer: I am not religious. That said, the Bible is something that I have always loved to read. I was raised one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, and they teach you to read the bible a lot. I don’t practice the faith anymore, but I do appreciate the sentiment of the Bible and the advice it offers. I don’t look at any of it literally, especially the bigoted stuff, I’m just able to tweeze out some good moral lessons that have helped me become the person I am today. I’ve read other religious texts too, and they all seem to have a common theme—if you’re not a asshole, things will usually work out okay.

What are you reading right now? Why did you pick it up, out of all the millions of books out there?

I am in the middle of reading Dead I Well May Be by Adrian McKinty. I picked it up because several people have recommended it to me. I am not disappointed. If you like mob stories, this book’s a legend!

What is the strongest emotional response a book has ever provoked in you?

When I finished the book East of Eden by John Steinbeck, I actually felt sad for days after reading it. I’m such a slow reader, so the time I invested was a lot. I was heavily invested in the characters and their outcome. Like I said earlier, Steinbeck has a way of writing that makes me feel like I am one of the characters in the story. I don’t want to spoil the book for the folks who haven’t read it, but when things didn’t happen the way I had hoped, I felt as if my own life wasn’t going to unfold the way I hoped. I’m over it now, hahaha.

If you could go for dinner and drinks with one author, alive or dead, who would it be, and why?

I’ve always had this fantasy of being punched in the face by Ernest Hemingway. Not sure how it would get to that point, but it would make for an awesome story.

If you could go for dinner and drinks with one character, who would it be, and why?

Lee from East of Eden. I’ve never respected a character in a story so much. He seems like someone I could talk to and philosophize with for an endless amount of time.

Do you have an all-time favourite book, or selection of books? Why is it/are they your favourite?

I do not have an all-time favorite. I will say the book I have read the most (besides the Bible when growing up) is Anne Stilman’s Grammatically Correct. I want to be an outstanding writer, and no matter how much I read and write, I don’t remember every grammatical rule. This book is a great refresher every once in awhile.

788 words

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MattMatt is Chief Editor at Misfit Press. Alongside overseeing all activity at the Press, he is in the latter stages of a PhD, working on a thesis examining the intersections between literature, neuroscience and the philosophy of consciousness. Soccer, snowboarding, prog metal, Dostoevsky, a good Chianti and strangers' dogs all rank amongst his favourite things.

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What does it mean to be Human?

Loyal as a Book #1

“The window that literature opens to us; to our selves, and to our souls.”

Misfit Press